The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Milkweed Leaf Beetle

Afrikaans name:

Milkweed Leaf Beetle

Above - Beautiful colours on the Milkweed Leaf Beetle

Photo © Steven Herbert

Platycorynus dejeani

The Milkweed Leaf Beetle is just over a centimetre in length. It has a metallic green body and a metallic purple head. This species belongs to a group of insects known as “leaf beetles” many of which are regarded as pests because of the damage they do to certain crops.

If you disturb one of these beetles, you may find that it plays dead for a while. This is a defensive mechanism whereby the potential predator may lose interest in the now lifeless form.

These beetles occur in natural areas but also on the edges of cultivated lands. The Milkweed Leaf Beetle may be found feeding on cotton plants, but their natural food is normally the Milkweed plant. They do also feed off other plants.

Although the beetle was first described from specimen found in Mozambique, it is widely distributed across sub-Saharan Africa.

References and further reading

Field Guide to Insects of South Africa - Author: Mike Picker, Charles Griffiths and Alan Weaving - Published: 0 - Page: 252

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